Most Authentic Ramen in New York City:

Please enjoy the below curated list of Authentic Japanese Ramen in NYC.

Ramen that is not authentic (i.e., what NY resident Japanese would not expect to find back home) are not included. It's like "California Rolls" or other fancy "Special Roll" sushi.. it's not authentic. It doesn't make me homesick, and it's not what I crave.
It might be good, it might be fancy, it might be ... whatever it is, it ain't authentic Japanese Ramen.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Ok this one's not really in NYC - but it's good, and it's close.

Santoka is inside Mitsuwa Market, in Edgewater NJ. Worth stopping by, if you're in the area.


1596 3rd Ave, Btwn 89/90th
(212) 289-7803

Kinda reminds me of Rai Rai Ken, in looks. A small place, few seats, Ramen-at-the-Bar.
But the ramen was much better than Rai Rai Ken.


152 W.49th btw. 6& 7th

It's a bit of a dive, but the food is real. Not too ridiculously priced, considering the location. Bit of a hidden oasis for some Japanese expats when they crave a bit of real Japan.

Robots cooking ramen

Ramen making Robots - on video! via Engadget

Menkui Tei (56th)

56th Street, East of 6th Ave

Ramen Setagaya (St. Marks)

St. Marks Place Btwn 2/3Aves
(212) 387-7959

Ramen Setagaya (1st Ave)

1st Ave Btwen St.Marks/9th St.
(212) 529-2740

One of the better, most authentic ramen places in NYC.

Cash only, come prepared, and hungry.
Shio (salt) Ramen is the house specialty. Savory and complex, it's not just "salt", but a carefully prepared soup.

You can even order "kae dama", a second helping of noodles to put in your soup if you are still hungry. This is another authentic trait sometimes seen in real Japanese ramen joints, especially those that take pride in their soup.

The Tsuke-men (dipping ramen) is, unlike cold soba, dipped in a medium sized bowl of hot rich broth with fatty pork morcels. Tasty, and good for a change, when you're not quite in the mood for the old standard. The salted egg is delicious, soft boiled. I usually get an extra. The gyoza here is ok, not something I'd write home about.

This 1st Ave location is somewhat preferable to the other, Setagaya locations.


4th Ave at 10th St.
(212) 388-0088

Menchanko Tei (55th)

55th St. Btwn 5/6 Aves
(212) 247-1585

Menchanko Tei (45th)

45th Street, btwn Lex/3 Ave
(212) 986-6805

Rai Rai Ken

10th St. Btwn 1/2Aves
(212) 477-7030

I really wanted to love this place.

It's authentic. It's one of the old and authentic NY Ramen joints. BUT. Even tho I keep going back, when I'm out of other ideas (that should tell you something) and in the hopes that it will be better... ultimately it's a "meh".

Their Nori, as a topping, is great. It's the most memorable part of their ramen. The old fashioned counter, and very authentic feel and look to the entire place, makes one think "ooh this must be real".

But unfortunately, it's bland. It's not bad, it's just... not very savory. If you think other popular places are too salty, or too flavorful, you might like this.

The thing is, I still will go back there, from time to time. It feels like an old down town Tokyo ramen joint, where tired and drunk salarymen will stagger in after work. It feels like an old piece of ramen culture in Tokyo. To me, that's more appealing, even comforting, than a trendy, but not-so-authentic new age ramen place.

Menkui Tei (Cooper Union)

3rd Ave at 7th St.
(212) 228-4152


5th St. Btwn A/B Aves
(212) 505-8001


49th St., btwn Lex/3 Aves